I am all too often often lukewarm on urban fantasy, especially when it slops over into paranormal romance. When UF is well done, it is highly enjoyable. But there is a lot of UF out there, and a lot of it is, to me, interchangeable, derivative, and stale.
I've been meaning to read Kate Daniels for a while, and with my vacation, and the imminent release of the newest book, which I am just getting ready to start, this seemed like a good time to immerse myself in post-shift Atlanta. This series really worked for me.
The world-building is outstanding. Aside from Seanan McGuire and Patricia Briggs, I haven't read a UF where the author has taken so much care to build an interesting, unique and well-researched world. The literary team that makes up Ilona Andrews knows their mythology, and have taken pains to include a lot of different myths and pantheons in their world. The conflict between tech and magic is interesting.
Kate Daniels is a fascinating character. She was forged in a crucible of violence, but somehow emerged with a core of integrity. She doesn't kill for pleasure, but in an ultra-violent world, she is more than capable of defending herself, even if that means killing when she has to - which happens frequently. Her relationship with the Pack alpha, The Beast Lord, Curran, is one of equals, even if Curran frequently behaves like a jackass.
Because I read them in one extended binge, it's hard for me to rank or rate the books individually. I have a sense of the books as a whole, not so much as individual installments.
Highly recommended for fans of urban fantasy.